1802

Alternative title

The 2nd Parliament of the United Kingdom

Summoned

30 June 1802

Assembled

31 Aug. 1802, prorogued until 16 Nov. 1802

Dissolved

24 Oct. 1806

Session

Dates

1
16 Nov. 1802-12 Aug. 1803
2
22 Nov. 1803-31 July 1804
3
15 Jan. 1805-12 July 1805
4
21 Jan. 1806-23 July 1806

Long description

This Parliament saw three administrations and the untimely deaths of the parliamentary giants William Pitt and Charles James Fox. The administration of Henry Addington appeared to be secure after the general election, but his perceived vacillations on the resumption of war with France in the spring of 1803 prompted the Foxite Whigs and, eventually, Pitt to combine with the Grenvillite ‘new opposition’ and adherents of the prince of Wales to bring him down in April 1804. The king’s veto on Fox frustrated any hope of a broad-based government under Pitt, who ploughed on alone, but, despite a temporary junction with Addington (created Lord Sidmouth), was unable to command a reliable majority in the House. He died in January 1806, when the king reluctantly asked Lord Grenville to form a government, which, as the so-called ministry of ‘All the Talents’, took in the Foxites and Sidmouthites. Fox, foreign secretary and leader of the House, died while suing unsuccessfully for peace in September 1806. Grenville, seeking to strengthen the ministry’s position in the Commons, secured a dissolution the following month.

The elections ran from 5 July until 14 Aug. 1802. Ninety-seven of the now 380 constituencies (26 per cent) were contested. There was a significant contest in